Ordinary Men – Extraordinary Message

Bible Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

1 Corinthians 2:1-5, “And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Some believers in Corinth were enamored with gifted speakers in their oratorical abilities to impart human wisdom.  They were prone to elevate such men and depreciate the power of the gospel.  But Paul reminded them of how he had come, not “with lofty speech or wisdom” (1 Corinthians 2:1), but “in weakness and in fear and much trembling” (1 Corinthians 2:3).  He spoke to them not in “plausible words of wisdom,” but “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).  He did so deliberately—that their faith might rest in God, not man.

We live in a day when people are prone to that same sort of Corinthian error.  The biggest church in America is a church full of charisma but devoid of the word of the cross.  The church growth movement has focused less on what Christ has done and more on man-engineered schemes for reaching the lost.  But God doesn’t need man’s cleverly devised schemes or antics to save souls.  He is well-pleased to use ordinary men (possessing “treasure in their jars of clay”) in the sharing of His extraordinary message. He has arranged it that way, thus demonstrating that “the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

A 15-year-old teenager headed off to church, as he normally did on Sunday mornings.  But there was a blizzard that day and the heavy snow kept him from going to his usual place of worship.  Instead, he found himself in a Primitive Methodist Church. As a young man, from a long line of pastors, he knew all about Christianity, but he didn’t know Christ.  Later, he would write of those days, “It was my sad lot to feel the greatness of my sin without a discovery of the greatness of God’s mercy.”

The Primitive Methodist Church almost didn’t open that morning, but the caretaker, thinking that a few people might show up, opened the doors and lit the stove.  By 11:00 some 12-15 people had come inside, but not the Pastor. He apparently could not get there because of the snow.  Finally, one of the laymen of the congregation reluctantly took the pulpit. As he looked down, he could see the small congregation, hundreds of empty seats, and the young 15-year-old boy seated under the gallery. The text for his sermon was, “Look unto me, and be ye saved” (Isaiah 45:22), and after about ten minutes of repeating himself, the man was about to step down from the pulpit. But before he did, he addressed the teenager. “Young man,” he said, “you look very miserable, and you will always be miserable if you don’t obey my text. But if you obey now, at this moment, you will be saved.”  He paused again, then shouted at the young man with more animation, “Young man, look to Jesus!  Look! Look! Look!”

That young man was Charles Spurgeon.  Years later, Spurgeon wrote of his experience, “There and then the cloud was gone, the darkness was rolled away.”  God used the preaching of an unprepared and ordinary layman to save Charles Spurgeon.  Charles Spurgeon would go on to preach the gospel to thousands over the course of his ministry.  He was an ordinary man—just like the man who had first shared that extraordinary message with him.  God is honored to use such folks—people like you and me—in making the gospel known.


I love to tell the story
of unseen things above,
of Jesus and his glory,
of Jesus and his love.
I love to tell the story
because I know it’s true;
it satisfies my longings
as nothing else can do.

I love to tell the story;
‘twill be my theme in glory
to tell the old, old story
of Jesus and his love.

I love to tell the story,
for those who know it best
seem hungering and thirsting
to hear it like the rest.
And when in scenes of glory
I sing the new, new song,
‘twill be the old, old story
that I have loved so long. [Refrain]

Author: looking2jesus13

Having served as pastor at Lewis and Clark Bible Church, in Astoria, Oregon, for almost three decades, my wife’s cancer diagnosis led to my retirement and subsequent move to Heppner to be near our two grandchildren. I divide my time between caring for Laura and working as a part time hospice chaplain and spending time with family and spoiling my chocolate lab.

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